We’ll continue to fight racism and attacks on our union – because they’re part of the same struggle

These are tough times for trade unionists. But in these tough times it’s more important than ever not to let racism fall off the agenda.

Working together as a union to support our members, our friends and those around the world who suffer the effects of racism each day.

The struggle for race equality is like many of the great struggles working people have faced, where every right they’ve gained and each fight they’ve won seemed impossible at first. Where it seemed every positive change in legislation was so often proceeded by tragedy and great struggle.

That was the case when we fought to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race.

But as the struggle continues we’re still fighting for some basic truths. That Black workers deserve decent pay and a decent life, not to be made disproportionately redundant, over represented in the unemployment figures or forced into the most precarious forms of work.

And we know from recent TUC research that Black workers face unique pressures. They are twice as likely to be in temporary work, more likely to be low-paid, and 40% of Black workers say they are doing temporary work because they couldn’t find a permanent job.

Those statistics are shocking and hard to take in, even for those of us who think we understand the scale of these problems. It’s a national scandal we can’t ignore.

UNISON will continue to put this fight at the heart of our work.

So when we organise around low pay and exploitation, fight for workers’ rights and organise against the Trade Union Bill, we organise against racism at the same time.

Tackling racism can’t be a lesser priority for unions. Tackling racism is essential because it destroys trade union solidarity, divides us and sets us against each other.

So in the years to come we’ll continue to fight racism and attacks on our union, because they’re part of the same struggle. They’re intended to divide us and weaken us – and we must never let that happen.